Tired of Yelling at Your Child? 6 Tips To Stop Screaming and Start Parenting Effectively



If you’re a parent, you’ve probably been there: your child says or does something that pushes your buttons, and the next thing you know, you’re yelling and screaming at the top of your lungs. And they’re responding in kind.

Afterward, you feel drained, upset, and frustrated. You wonder why it always has to come down to a screaming match.

No Parent Is Perfect—We All Yell at Times

It’s important for parents to remember that we’re not perfect, and we can learn from our mistakes. A periodic scream or two doesn’t make you a bad parent. We all yell at our kids at times.

Let me tell you a story about my own family. I had a long commute home from work when my son was growing up, and from time to time, I would be in a bad mood when I got home. I would arrive late and find our adolescent son not doing his homework. Instead, he’d be sitting on the couch, eating and making a mess—usually with his feet on the table. I like to keep everything in order, so this was extremely annoying to me. I won’t lie—there were some days when I was worn out, hungry, and frustrated, and I yelled and screamed at him.

After that happened a few times, I made it a personal goal to respond better in the future. And by applying the tips in this article (and some practice and patience), I screamed much less and became a more effective parent.

Why Do Parents Yell at Their Kids?

Most parents yell and scream at their kids because they’re frustrated. At the exact moment when you lose it, you don’t feel like you have any other options. It becomes like a knee jerk reaction or a trigger being pulled. In other words, you don’t think about what you’re doing. You just respond.

Parents can also let their frustration with their kids build up over time. They go from incident to incident without giving consequences, and the frustration grows bigger and bigger. Eventually, they break and react by screaming rather than dealing with the misbehavior consistently and effectively.

Why Screaming at Your Child Doesn’t Work

Yelling and screaming at your kids sends the message that you’re not in control. And if you aren’t in control, they might assume that they’re in charge. It’s also important to understand that kids feel unsafe and anxious when their parents appear out of control. These are bad messages to send to your child, and it undermines your authority in the household.

I want to stress that it’s okay to speak strongly to kids. But getting angry and then ratcheting up to screaming is not helpful, especially if it’s over anything and everything. When you scream at everything, the screaming loses its effect and has no significance when there’s actual misbehavior.

Success in parenting is feeling good about the job you’ve done in teaching your child how to behave—and you can’t feel good about yourself if you’re screaming all the time. When chronic screaming becomes the norm, children are also apt to think it’s okay for them to scream all the time, too. Your kid learns that screaming is a suitable response when you’re frustrated or overwhelmed. It doesn’t teach anything positive. Instead, it teaches that life is out of control, and you’re out of control.

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Here’s the bottom line: if you use yelling to get your kids to comply, you’re not teaching them better problem–solving skills. Yelling at a problem doesn’t make it go away. Indeed, it usually makes the problem worse. When kids are screamed at all the time, they learn to tolerate the screaming rather than change their behavior. Eventually, your child tunes you out altogether.

And if screaming were effective, parenting would be easy. We’d just scream at our kids, they’d change their behavior, and our problems would be solved. But, we all know that it isn’t that easy.

6 Tips to Help Parents Stop Screaming at Their Kids

If you find yourself screaming at your child frequently, it’s not going to be easy to stop yourself—at least not right away. Learning how to change the way you communicate with your child takes practice. You need effective tools because your kids will push your buttons to try and get you to lose control—which is what they’re used to. But you can learn to have control and communicate with them effectively. Here are six tips that will help you get back on track.

1. Don’t Attend Every Fight You’re Invited To

As my husband, James Lehman, teaches in The Total Transformation parenting program,

“You don’t have to attend every fight you’re invited to.”

Walking away from a screaming match will often stop the fight in its tracks, right then and there. No matter if the fight is beginning, if you’re deep into it, or it’s been going on for ten minutes, you can stop and step away from the situation.

Stepping away from the heat of the situation also helped me as a parent to figure out what my response should be. Sometimes, it meant spending some time away from my child and then going back later and dealing with their misbehavior.

2. Don’t Respond Immediately To Bad Behavior if You Feel Triggered

I think it’s fine to wait ten minutes—or even wait until the next day—to come back and talk with your child about their inappropriate language or behavior. Often, things with our kids are truly not that urgent. Most of us scream about things that are minor when you really think about it. They might feel urgent at the time, but that’s only because of our agitation, and not necessarily because our kid’s behavior is so bad.

You can say to your child:

“Your behavior is not appropriate, and we will talk about it later when things are calm.”

It’s sometimes good for a child to have to think about a situation or incident for a while before you have that talk.

A very simple thing you can do is count to ten while really disengaging yourself from the situation. So count to ten, walk away, go into a different room, do a different activity. Even if you don’t have a clue what’s triggering your frustration, if you know that you are overreacting (and screaming is usually an overreaction), try to disengage.

3. Give Yourself Transition Time When You Get Home

It’s common for parents to fight with their kids right when they get home. Typically, during the commute home, the parent is thinking about the fight they are going to have when they walk in the door. It’s almost a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Therefore, I recommend that you give yourself some time to transition when you come home. Take ten minutes to go wash up, gather your thoughts, and then come out of your room and talk to your kids. They may act like they can’t wait ten minutes at first, but they’ll get used to it. And they’ll learn to give you your space eventually.

4. Prepare Yourself Mentally for Situations That Trigger You

It’s important to know your triggers. We all have triggers, and often they’re not the most rational things. I think it’s useful for parents to know what their triggers are—what sets them off. Is it the feet on the couch, the backtalk, or their mess in the kitchen? Teach yourself what you can do when you’re triggered in order to respond more effectively.

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When I was on my way home from work, I also made preparations for how I would react. I would think to myself, “Okay, when I get home, if my son hasn’t done his homework and if he’s made a mess again, I’m not going to yell or scream. I’m just going to give myself time to unwind, and then come out and deal with his behavior.” So if you know your triggers, you can plan your reaction.

If you’re working on staying in control, I think you need to really look at yourself. Start reviewing what happened after the fact and try to practice more effective communication with your kids where you’re not out of control. Sometimes just having more positive interactions means there’s less time for the negative.

Ask yourself what kind of parent you’d like to be. Nobody wants to be known as the parent who screams at their kids all the time and seems out of control. Ask yourself what kind of parent you want to be. And remember, it’s never too late—you can start making these improvements at any time.

5. Get Support From Trusted Friends or Family

If you’re trying to get more control and would like to stop yelling, I recommend that you talk to your spouse or trusted friends and acknowledge all of it. I don’t think there’s anything to be ashamed or embarrassed about—almost all of us scream. Your spouse might have some insights or some ideas of what you can do. They also might notice what some of your triggers are that you haven’t noticed yourself.

Be careful not to confide in other parents or family members who are judgmental or who express shock or dismay at your parenting challenges. These people will only make you feel worse about yourself, and that’s not effective.

6. It’s Okay to Apologize for Screaming

I would sometimes go over things with my son and apologize for yelling and explain that I’d had a hard day and that I was sorry I took it out on him.

If you decide to apologize, understand that it’s not about getting forgiveness from your kids. Rather, it’s about owning your behavior, learning from the situation, and trying to do better next time.

Also, I made sure our son was held accountable for his actions. Getting homework done and cleaning up after himself were his responsibilities, and he knew that failing to do either would result in receiving consequences. My goal became to stay calm and handle his behavior without losing control myself.

Related Content:
Calm Parenting: How to Get Control When Your Child Makes You Angry
Temper, Temper: Keeping Your Cool When Kids Push Your Buttons

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Janet Lehman, MSW, has worked with troubled children and teens for over 30 years. A veteran social worker, she specializes in child behavior issues — ranging from anger management and oppositional defiance to more serious criminal behavior in teens. She is co-creator of The Total Transformation® Program, The Complete Guide To Consequences™, Getting Through To Your Child™, and Two Parents One Plan™.

Comments (53)
  • SKH22

    I want to send heartfelt thanks to the author of these articles and everyone who has commented, as I am devastated and crying reading this page.

    Not only does this article hit home, but also showcases how much of an EPIC FAILURE I have been as a mom in staying calm, in not raising my voice, and in not saying horrible things more than a few times as a result of hurt & frustration with my 17 year old daughter.

    The thing is, unlike many who have younger children, or ones with ADHD or special needs & have expressed their worry about future damage to their children's wellbeing after they "lost it" and screamed at their children due to uncontrollable outbursts, not following directions or completing homework, in my situation, damage has surely already been done and now, within the last year or so, I am at a crossroads. Having raised her as a divorced, single mom, I have always tried to be an effective, calm communicator; a progressive parent, giving my daughter a voice, not wanting to subscribe to the old school "because- I- said- so" parent mentality from which I was raised.

    Unfortunately, I am also an empath, and by the time she reached about the age of 15, bringing with it the typical teenage entitled attitude, I found myself being emotionally affected, sensitive and increasingly frustrated by her ever-changing moods and downright rude dismissive behavior toward me (even though the majority of these moods had nothing to do with me).

    But I have taken it personally, and thus, up until the recent past, have yelled at her and in the moment, have said a host of cringeworthy things which I am so utterly ashamed and horrified. And, I have apologized and recanted my outbursts several times, earnestly focusing on not yelling at her and just trying to move forward, flip the switch to positive interactions with her, and put the incidents behind us.

    But the emotional scars have remained with her, as I learned the other day, when I received a five page letter from my daughter, telling me that she is no longer "afraid of me" (which shocked me because I have never hurt her in any way other than the yelling incidents) and that she needed to write the letter to finally express her feelings which have apparently been building for some time. The letter included wildly untrue assertions about my failures as a parent--including me neglecting her physical and emotional wellbeing, and causing her to withdraw completely from our household, stating that she will not engage with me nor with my long time boyfriend who has helped raise her since she was 6;, will not return after she leaves for college, and will only seek emotional support/advice from her friends, herself, or her dad (who lives nearby, but only recently re-entered her life after leaving the state for more than 15 years after she was born and after our divorce).

    I am saddened beyond measure because nothing could be further from the truth. My daughter is a beautiful, mature, well-adjusted high school senior with straight-A's, strong morals, a part time job, great friends, plays varsity sports, and goes to a distinguished private school. She is my only daughter and I love every cell of her being. My entire life revolves around her wellbeing and care, as I raised her myself and have emotionally and financially supported her every need and want.. I am not writing this to seek credit for any of this... I am simply writing this because I am truly devastated and not at all sure what to do in trying to pick up the pieces of this shattered relationship that I take full responsibility for ruining... because I raised my voice with her and exhibited poor emotional control-- I don't know what to do... Thanks for reading...

  • Mike R

    Shouting is such an easy trap to fall into. I've been noticing for a while that I get way too aggressive in my reactions ... shouting, spanking, etc. If I look back, 99% of those reactions were all outlets for my own frustration mixed with being meant to show them the terrible consequences of their actions so they'd behave better. My dad shouted at me as a kid, both parents spanked, although my dad was more irrational about it where my mom was methodical and deliberate ... you knew it was purposed to teach, not to relieve frustration. Still, here I am, doing the same thing. I can see my daughter (6) developing similar insecurities that I did as a result. It's true that kids learn from their parents. My wife is the same way, although she has a more difficult path being the step-mother. I'm so tired. It's tough trying to toe the line between being firm but not too firm and being compassionate but not apathetic. And trying to remember that kids will push that button day in and day out for days, months, years, before the lessons finally kick in. Admittedly, a lot of the lessons my mom tried to teach me all of high school didn't take hold until I was on my own, then later when I got married, and later now with my 3 kids. And here we are trying to verbally beat these lessons into them anyway.

    Anyway, I wonder how many of us would refrain from so much shouting if we considered that there are some lessons that kids won't truly realize and practice until they are older? And that's ok, right? Maybe that's just the tough part of being a parent ... taking that attitude beating day after day sometimes, and weathering that storm with kindness and consistent reminder of the right way to do it until one day they finally get it? I have a hard time accepting that, because in our dealings with adults we expect that when we say "no", that'll be it right then (usually). So when kids do this, and we actually have authority over them (vs authority over adults), it compounds our frustration. I mean, you can't move away from them or fire them lol.

    I know my insecurities and shortfalls and I don't want my kids to develop them also, but I find myself sending them down the same road my parents did with me because I don't know how else to do it. My examples to follow from memory are just that, so now I feel like I'm learning this all over again and getting myself together while try to get them down the right path and I feel like the blind leading the blind. Anyway, I guess this was more to vent, but hopefully others see value in it.

  • Jessica
    I have over time become a screamer, and I am by no means proud of this. I am the mother of 3 children, one passed away at home and was my only daughter in 2017. My eldest is the sweetest 6 year old boy, but I have done most thingsMore for him, and am upset that at 6, he has difficulty putting his shoes on the wrong feet and dressing himself. I try to be patient with him since I created this problem, but I get so frustrated that he can't do it by himself. I cringe as I type this because I know that it's wrong and it is not a reason to scream at a child. I just got into a routine and lose it. I am embarrassed that something like this sets me off. He looks at me with such sadness and I want to die when this happens. I apologize and take ownership, but then I fall into the same pattern. I try to be a good mom and he often says I'm the best, but my frustrations are killing our bond. I am really going to try to take 10 minutes to decompress and devote more time and energy fixing my relationship with my son. He deserves much better than what he has at present.
  • Aimee O.
    Single mom, toddler boy, never met dad & supposedly government can't find him for support either. I just wanted 2 thank each & every one of you who commented, and the writer of these articles; I was in tears reading article as it hit home on many things for meMore as well, but as I read each comment I realized that we DO ALL go through it (loved Cyndie's comment, "if they would just listen the first time" LOL)..anyway, thank you All..you don't even know how you might've saved me. I got to this article via boot camp search...for a toddler (possible behavior/autism) but really. One of those days where you feel inadequate
    • EmpoweringParents.com Editor
      Thanks for visiting our site and commenting -- we are grateful for the heartfelt sharing of all the parents who comment and support one another.
  • TMOPrays

    I am a single parent. My ex does not parent nor co parent. It's always I agree with your mom.

    My daughter knows this. She constantly says "OK" and "I don't care," in a rude and disrespectful manner when she is being asked to do her homework, pick up her stuff, cannot play on her electronics, or is asked to simply brush her teeth. If my mom. Would have said to me, please go brush your teeth, I would have immediately obeyed without a word (even if i did not want to do it.) I keep my cool and try not to engage, but then she will throw her eye glasses or threaten to break something she knows is important to me. This is when I get upset, and I end up yelling which escalates things with me yelling at her, and her yelling at me. I explain that this is NOT how we resolves things to which she usually smarts off keeping the battle going.

    She knows she needs to do her homework, brush her teeth, or get ready for bed. I just do not understand why she goes from happy girl to smart mouth refusing to do it in zero to 90 just like that. I seriously don't know what to do to keep this from happening. I mean this is all simple stuff that we do daily. It is mot like I am asking her to do something out of the ordinary or requires much effort. It is like just because I am telling her, and she simply decided that she does not want to do it, so she is going to show me whose boss?

    I am overwhelmed in how such little tasks or requests can cause such craziness for no reason.

  • Mir
    I have a similar situation at our home that many who posted their comments and I am seeking some intuitive ways I could make homework more exciting so that my kid does not lose interest in her studies. My wife screams at our kid a lot specially when she isMore helping her with homework, not to say she loves her a lot too. I have seen my kid getting a little desensitized too and almost always cries doing homework. The bad part is if I intervene my wife keeps obstructing me in how I teach which is using examples and often turns against me screaming at me and blaming me. The situation is very ironic because we both want the best for our kid. I am afraid this constant screaming and sometimes my wife slapping her does not make her hate the studies later. Help.
    • Rev. C.A. Hunnel...


      in your comment, you made disclusure of how you and your wife are dealing with the issue of homework with your child. That may be a particular key!

      Two things: why does your wife insist on commanding it? and see you as interfering?

      Second, there is a lack of cooperation between, and the tensions arise if you are seen as the calm and easy going? Don;t make your wife out to be the bad guy, or allow your children to assume that this is between good and bad method.

      Find a solution and compromise between you as husband and wife, and then share togather some of the concerns you both have about homework , school, etc..there is a great assessment for conflict resolution, to take and compare your styles and methods.

      Hope you find success in marriage and family!



    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      Thank you for writing in. It’s not uncommon for parents to disagree on the best way to handle a given situation, so you are not alone in experiencing this conflict with your wife. I also hear your concern for the way that your wife is treating your childMore during homework time. We do not recommend slapping or otherwise becoming physical with a child as a form of discipline, mainly because it’s not teaching a child more effective problem-solving skills, and can actually teach your child that it’s OK to become aggressive with someone when you are frustrated. At this point, I recommend talking with your wife privately during a calm time, and coming to an agreement on how homework time will be structured moving forward. You might find some helpful information in When Parents Disagree: 10 Ways to Parent as a Team. I recognize what a difficult situation this must be for you, and I wish you and your family all the best moving forward. Take care.
  • mpho
    im a mother of 2 toddlers my son is turning 3 years...the shouting and spacking is killing me now he is shy and scared at school simingly coz i shout a lot how do i stop please help..and how do i help my son regain his self esteem this isMore even affecting his academic...his a bit slow i really need help.
    • Rev. C.A. Hunnel...

      That is pure Honesty! Thank you for sharing your concerns for you and your parenting methods and outcomes.

      at the Center for the Study of Social Policy, the Strengthening Families Initiative is looking to enrich parents and children in situations just like this...to de-escalate situations, use strong and proven methodologies that help parents and children find success in the home...

      1. Love/Nurture/Caring are the fundamental format: Agreed? Sometimes parents are trying too hard...and love and nurture get lost in translation.

      2. You are the Professional in the home, so you have way more ability to remain calm and in control than you realize. Make sure you lead your home in a positive and nurturing manner.

      3. Sometimes reacting and over reacting lead to becoming emotionally charged, and allowing that de-escalating of emotions to occur is critical to not get into the yelling and screaming.

      4. Try to avoid regretting what you might say and do...we can never take those things back, and, they can become damaging over time.

      5. Stay Positive and focused on what is the real issue, and not get caught up in the emotions and or behavior of your child. You can work on those later...

      6. Consequences that are firm and fair...have a plan going in, so that you can stay in control.

      7. Bounce back...be a resilient parent, not a struggling one.

      8. Know the stages of development...for both being a parent and the abilities of your child. You admitted, he's a bit slow...Are you angry about that? Shame/ regret? Gonna have to be honest with yourself?

      9. Ask for help...Putting people on your team can be a great resource for you and your child. Parents who are able to do that can be even more successful in getting what they want.

      10. What are some social and emotional needs of your child...meet those simultaneously while looking to achieve the desired goals...

      11. Celebrate often. Something we can really take time to explore for our families success.

      12. Set 6 Clear Rules that are part of your home life. Families that implement rules are 70% more likely to get through to their kids and what is expected.

      thanks for letting me share some of our program's solutions for Family and Parenting Education.

      Over the Years, James Lehman and the Transformation Program, Consequences, Two Parents and one plan, and Empowering Parents have been great contributors to our 30 year success.



    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      Parenting young children can be quite challenging and frustrating at times, and I’m glad that you’re here reaching out for support. It’s a great start that you recognize that the current pattern is not working, and you are seeking more effective ways of interacting with your son. PartMore of changing this pattern will be to recognize your own triggers for shouting, and coming up with a plan for how you can respond differently in those situations. You might find some helpful tips in Losing Your Temper with Your Child? 8 Steps to Help You Stay in Control. Please be sure to check back and let us know how things are going for you and your family. Take care.
  • jad1023
    When my mom yelled at me I felt like calling her a witch.
  • kys85
    Help!!! Im so sick of yelling everyday 50 times a day. I just want to have a calm household. I feel for my neighborhood and i am done with the stress and feeling like a failure. Im a mum of 4 children 11 boy, 10 boy, 8 girl and 6More boy. The thing im most concerned about is its rubbed off and thats all my children do too. We all scream from sun up to sun down. I need help!!!
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      kys85 We hear from many parents who want to stop screaming at their children, and have a calmer family, so you are not alone.  While it can take some effort, breaking this habit is not impossible! You might find some useful advice and techniques in our articles on https://www.empoweringparents.com/article-categories/parenting-strategies-techniques/calm-parenting/ suchMore as https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/how-to-stop-yelling-at-your-kids-use-these-10-tips/.  Please let us know if you have additional questions.  Take care.
  • astrocreepergirl

    I'm very frustrated with yelling at my kids. I hate yelling at them, I hate seeing them cry because I yelled at them. But I am so frustrated and overwhelmed I don't know what else to do. Mostly I yell when they've added more work for me to do. I am a single parent of a 5, soon to be 4 year old, and 1 year old. I have a full-time career, financial issues, and I am exhausted. I don't get much day-to-day support from their dad as he now lives in another country and we have a very difficult relationship (the less we are around each other the better off we are). I try very hard to be open to my kids about what's going on at home, explain the situation, explain why, explain why not, I don't know if this is the right thing to do but I don't know what else I can do. My 5 year old understands A LOT and usually has follow up questions which I appreciate immensely. I'm worried about not being a good parent, about being overwhelmed as both mom and dad, and being very limited with time. I see that my 5 year old gets frustrated easily too and yells at his sister (middle child) out of frustration. In his defense, her thing is to antagonize him. But I see how my actions are being repeated. He told me I can be mean, but he also told me I'm a better mommy when their dad isn't there. I'm having issues with my middle child acting out to get attention and it is absolutely awful - it makes the bad situation worse. 

    I read through the guidance above and I think for me having time to myself works the best but since I am responsible for getting the kids ready for school, taking them to school, picking them up, I don't have that option 90% of the time. I signed up for the newsletter. Hopefully by reading more I will be able to make some sort of a positive change. Any advice is welcome.

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      astrocreepergirl We are so glad that you are here!  We hear from many single parents who describe feeling overwhelmed and stressed between parenting, work, running a household, and other responsibilities, so you are not alone.  It can be difficult to find time for yourself when you are responsible for parentingMore young children on your own.  Moving forward, reading our newsletter can be useful, as we send out blogs and articles with tips on how to be a more effective parent.  In the meantime, you might find some useful tips in https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-single-parent-juggling-act-5-tips-to-help-you-manage/ and https://www.empoweringparents.com/blog/from-the-single-parent-trenches-divorced-mom-puts-the-self-in-self-care/.  Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family.  Take care.
  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


    I can hear your concern with the statements your son is

    making.  It is pretty normal for kids to escalate their behavior and

    responses when a parent is responding in a calm way, as an effort to draw the

    parent into a power struggle.  That being said, I also encourage you to

    take his statements about killing himself or hurting himself seriously. 

    In this way, if he is serious about wanting to harm himself, you can take steps

    to keep him safe.  If he is making these statements in an effort to manipulate

    you, responding in this manner will communicate to him that this is not an

    effective way to meet his needs.  Working with local resources can be

    useful in developing this plan.  If you are not already doing so, I

    encourage you to contact the http://www.211.org/ at

    1-800-273-6222 for information about services available in your area, such as

    counselors or crisis response services.  I recognize how difficult this

    must be for you, and I wish you all the best moving forward.  Take care.

  • Cyndie
    If my kids would listen the first time, I would be less likely to yell at them....they are 8 an 10 year old girls and they constantly fight, kick, hit, and pick on one anther. My 8 year old has no care about time management and moves at her ownMore pace constantly making us late for things which frustrates me horribly! I give her plenty of time and count downs to try to keep her moving but she just doesn't seem to care and she does this with myself my husband and her grandmother. We all yell and I hate it.
  • Anne


    Hi, I am a mother of 11 and 13 year old boys. It' seems liked all my life I have been screaming at my kids. I know it's more or less taking out frustration at them. Now I am at that point that my kids, especially my little one has stated screaming. Home atmosphere is not very pleasent. My parents are visiting and they have noticed this problem. I don't know what to do. I really want to stop this behavior. Any advice is helpful.

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      We hear from many

      parents who want to change the pattern of ineffective communication with their

      children, yet don’t know where to start.  I’m glad that you are here,

      reaching out for support.  Janet offers some great suggestions on how to

      stop screaming in the article above.  You might also find some helpful

      advice in some of our other articles on https://www.empoweringparents.com/article-categories/parenting-strategies-techniques/calm-parenting/, such as https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/losing-your-temper-with-your-child-8-steps-to-help-you-stay-in-control/ and https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/how-to-stop-yelling-at-your-kids-use-these-10-tips/.  Please let us know

      if you have additional questions.  Take care.

  • Kris

    Hi, I am a mother of a 7, 12 and 14 year old. All are adopted and all have special needs. My biggest difficulty is my 7 year old. She has been diagnosed with crack induced ADHD and while the other two have ADHD, I have never experienced anyone like her. She brings me to the point of screaming like no one else can because she does not stop annoying people, yelling, answering back, calling names, moving, hopping up and down, arguing. It never ends. Meds help some but she does not act like any child I've ever met...and I'm a special ed. teacher!

    People see her as lacking discipline and judge me. I hate it! But I love her and want to get this right. But I'm frustrated and out of answers.

  • LoraHill35
    Hi I'm a mother to a Beautiful,loving,smart,never still full of life 5 year old daughter. We were told when she was 4 months that she was more advanced for her age and have been told this still. She is very smart but her behavior is not ok. Like all childrenMore she is great for others when my husband antic are not around but she backtalks,whines,smartmouths and when she is told no she does it anyways. We have talked calmly to her telling her why she was told no,we have tried timeouts,grounding,taking away her favorite things and spanking her butt and also we have tried redirecting and nothing works or phases her at all. She has a half brother that comes on the weekends but she is the only child at home she gets bored easily (she isn't adhd she has been tested) but she craves a playmate. I tru to play with her as much as possible I have fibromyalgia so I do as much as I can as far as playing. She also shows these behaviors when she doesn't get her way or what she wants. What else can we do? I have prayed,I've also talked to her pediatrician and she has talked to her but didn't help. Her doctor says it's because she is advanced for her age to keep her busy we try but we don't have a lot of money we live month to month. What can we do???
    • Darlene EP


      I can understand your concern

      and frustration with your daughter’s behavior. As Dr. Joan Simeo Munson points

      out in her article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/defiant-young-children-and-toddlers-5-things-not-to-do/, young children have very

      little control over their day-to-day

      lives and it is normal for them to search for ways to gain some control. And

      especially for strong-willed

      children, this can be expressed in acting out and defiant behaviors.  The

      good new is that your daughter is developing the skills she needs to behave

      appropriately because she is managing herself well for others. It is not

      unusual that she is pushing limits with you and her dad because that is where is it most safe to

      do so. How you’re

      responding and reacting to her inappropriate behaviors is going to be most

      important right now. Like Dr. Joan says, keeping your cool and not getting

      pulled into a power struggle by giving her behavior attention is the best thing

      to focus on. I hope this helps you with your situation. Let us know if we can

      be of any further help. Take care.

  • mumto8yearold
    Hi there, I have an 8 year old boy whose defiant in every way possible. His dad and I are deceived for 5 years now and his dad hardly calls or visits him which could have an impact on his behaviour. He has difficulty coping in school with easy homeworkMore so im worried as to how he is going to cope when he gets to the bigger grades. He doesn't take down homework that the teacher gives him. Every time I visit her she has a complaint about him so its become a norm now. He is very irresponsible and careless and will not see a danger ahead of him cos he doesn't check his surroundings. We are constantly arguing at home about his schoolwork, about him not doing chores. At school he will try and gain sympathy from the other parents to make it seem like im doing something wrong at home and he is very good in making up stories and speaking lies. I have taken him for assessments to determine what is the way forward but I am in dire straights and have no idea how to move forward so that he can improve his grades and become more responsible and independent
  • Angie
    I have 4 kids ages 1,3,5,and 7. I am currently a stay at home mom due to a series of unstoppable events. My husband works the evening shift form 230- 11. The older boys leave for school in the morning and it's just me and the little girls and myMore husband for the morning. It isn't until 430 after my boys get home that chaos begins, it get worse after dinner when chores and bedtime need to happen. This is the time of day I find my self screaming at everything and anyone. I completely lose my control. The weekends when everyone is together are just as bad. Between myself and the kids yelling there is not time for family fun. The 5 can and has thrown a tantrum to last the entire day. My husband can't change jobs currently or switch his shift and we have no family to ask for help. I'm not only afraid of what my yelling is doing to my children but it is also affecting my marriage. I feel like a failure as a mother and I don't even know how to begin to change this. I need help.
    • nora2013
      Hi angie I am in the same boat as you except that we only have two boys, the oldest who is3 years old is hand full up until today we still can't go to restaurants or public places but play grounds, it's very frustrated even when we are with familyMore because he has that scream for almost anything , if someone takes a you away from him he screams or to take turns you name it- I am go the point where if he doesn't have self control when he reaches it 4 years old we will seek professional help.
  • Father who wants change

    I haven't seen many Father's on here admitting to being one of these types. As a frustrated Father and husband, I have a tendency to not handle home stress well. I let things build to a head and then "Pop" I scream, cuss, and sometimes jump up and down like a naughty 3 year old. I struggle to find an out. My wife wants an instant response to everything (because she has one). I have enough other things to process throughout my day that having the answer right away is tough. 

    Thank you for sharing. I would like to add that I think the whole problem solving (homework) and planning ahead response for the children will work well for me. Explaining to the wife I need a few min to compose my thoughts would be helpful. Then engaging the child with the issue. 

    Cut out the lectures and get to the point - I need to do this. Less time monologuing and ask for problem solving feed back.

    Thank you,

    • Janessa

      Bless you for being so honest. Your right.... I rarely see comments from Dads... especially ones that may admit fault. I think that's much harder for the male since he is usually assigned the role of provider and protector therefore problem solver from the start. Which only makes it much harder to admit any wrong doings. I believe that 50 percent of the problem is solved by just being honest with yourself and others. Your already well on your way to a solution!

      In my opinion? You my dear are much stronger than most men. You weren't afraid to admit that you are human too. I wish you and yours all the best.

  • Elina

    Hello, I am usually very pleasant and nice as a person, but there are times -very often I must admit- that I totally lose it and start screaming. I have twin boys age 5, and they are used to yelling too, I mean that when they don't get their way they start crying and yelling, which leads to me getting frustrated and yell at them to stop. They don't want to wash their hands, they don't want to take a bath, they don't want to cleanse their noses, and God help us if they are sleepy in the morning and we have to rush to go to school! I love them more than life itself and I know they love me too, they say I'm very funny and kind and everything, but a lot of times I feel like I don't have any control over them and this is not the relationship I want to have with my children. I don't want them to be afraid of me so that I can discipline them. I could really use some advice,

    Thank you for your time,


    • Hill
      I have twins. They are 6 and gang up on me. They are smart and know how to push buttons. My good friend with older twins and 9 kids says it's worse with twins. Going to work on not yelling so much! Good luck!
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      It can be really frustrating when it feels like your main

      form of communication with your kids is yelling back and forth.  The good

      news is that it only takes one person to start to change this pattern!  It

      sounds like one of your triggers for yelling is your sons yelling and crying

      when they don’t want to do something.  It could be useful, therefore, to

      plan out how you can respond differently in that moment without yelling. 

      For example, you might plan to step briefly into another room to take a few

      deep breaths when your sons start yelling, and perhaps giving them a http://www.empoweringparents.com/How-to-Get-Your-Child-to-Listen-Giving-Effective-Consequences.php

      later if appropriate for the situation.  Thank you for writing in; please

      let us know if you have any additional questions.

  • VC
    I am a extremely calm person outside of my home, but when I deal with my 8 yr old, I frequently end up screaming at the top of my lungs! So bad that I sometimes lose my voice for a few hrs after. I feel like a failure and aMore bad parent every time that happens and I would try to stop myself and walk away but he would keep pushing my buttons. And then, I lose it even more. I have been screaming at him.Since he was very young, I have 2 other kids but I have never had to scream at them. He just whines, talk back, argue and make excuses. I don't know what to do. I don't want him to feel like he is singled out but he is the one that's unreasonable. Please give me some pointers. Thanks.
  • iwkttor


    I need help with my 5 yrs old kid, he has a case of social communication disorder with a lot of symptoms similar to ASD. I find myself yelling at him frequently, for example, to let him stop repeating the same question 100 times a day, or let him answer my questions. He doesn't tolerate any small change in his routin and gets really mad if we make any change, and I find myself yelling at him because of that. I know it is bad but cannot find another way to deal with him, specially that communication is difficult.

    • Marissa EP


      Thank you for reaching out to Empowering Parents with your

      question. I can understand how frustrating it must be when you find yourself

      repeating things many times for him. Recognizing and acknowledging that these

      things are a trigger for you is the first step in starting to make

      changes.  Making a plan for yourself ahead of time can be helpful, and

      Debbie Pincus, author of https://store.empoweringparents.com/product/the-calm-parent-am-pm/ program, offers some great tips in her article http://www.empoweringparents.com/4-tools-to-help-you-stay-calm-with-your-difficult-kids.php. Best of luck to you

      as you continue to work on  this.

  • SarahD32
    Hi, I need help with my 5yr old son. I feel like I'm constantly screaming at him. Like at the top of my lungs, and I get annoyed at the smallest things he does. I feel horrible and like a terrible mother. I try so hard not to yell atMore him, he just pushes me and pushes me to my breaking point. I always apologize to him and try to explain why I got so upset and yelled, I still just feel awful for treating him like that. He doesn't deserve to be screamed at, I'm at a loss what to do. I love my son more than life itself and I need to change before he starts to resent me. I'm honestly scared he will end up hating me. Please help!
    • Marissa EP


      It can be a real challenge to break the habits we know are

      not working, or we do not feel good about. The first step is recognizing you

      are being triggered, and having a plan for yourself when that happens. That could be taking a deep breath and going to

      a pre-designated place in your home where you read or listen to music, or do

      something that is calming for you.  In addition to the tools Janet Lehman

      offers in the above article, Debbie Pincus, author of our https://store.empoweringparents.com/product/the-calm-parent-am-pm/ offers some great tips in her article http://www.empoweringparents.com/how-to-stop-yelling-at-your-kids-use-these-10-tips.php. Best of luck as you continue

      to work through this.

      • lizzy624
        Hi, I also need help with my 12 year old son. He also doesn't listen to me at all. He is the only child so we did spoiled him and he didn't have much consequences. He also has ADHD. He is very disrespectful to everyone in the house. We liveMore with my husband's parents so things get crazy and there is alot of yelling in the house. He also lies alot. The homework is terrible, he makes a mess and he thinks he doesn't have to clean up after himself. He makes everything so difficult. It just seems like he doesn't care about anyone but himself. He treats me like I'm nothing at least that's how I feel. He talks back to me. When he is doing something we don't like and we ask him to stop, he doesn't he just keeps on doing it. Now what he is doing is he has been asking us to buy him things and it every day and could be something big or little. If we say no he flips out. He gets all crazy and then it turns into yelling. He gets me all crazy and I act crazy because he just can't be nice and say ok mom instead he also has to get all crazy. I need help on how to deal with things without getting all crazy and how to control him and to stick with what I say. From lizzy624
        • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


          It sounds like you have a lot going on right now with your

          son’s behavior, so it’s understandable that you might feel overwhelmed. 

          Something that could be useful is to focus on only one or two behaviors at a

          time.  The benefit to only addressing a few behaviors is that it can help

          you to feel more control over those behaviors, and it can also help you to http://www.empoweringparents.com/how-to-discipline-kids-the-key-to-being-a-consistent-parent.php in the limits you set.  In addition to talking with

          your son about how he can respond differently moving forward, it’s also going

          to be helpful to plan how you can respond in a more effective way if he gets

          angry or upset.  Debbie Pincus has some additional tips on this in her article

          http://www.empoweringparents.com/Stop-Letting-Your-Childs-Behavior-Make-You-Crazy.php.  Please

          let us know if you have any additional questions; take care.

  • Lana1969

    Hi I have been frustrated over the years, often I scream at my child when he is not doing what he is expected of doing things, I am a single mum and my partner may have left because of my screaming, as often I am on my own we really never had a property relationship, never really communicated, me out of frustration and do not remember when i started screaming in the last 12 years, my son is only 10 turning 11 in November, and just last night I screamed at my only son, when i continuously asked not to be on electronic devices, TV , while working on saturday and he is alone, I have asked him to make friends with neighbouring children, he refuses and not feeling comfortable about it, just wanting to hang around the office or at home. I screamed at him not only once in the last 10years to who I love with all my life and I scared him and held him I cried with him while hugging him, I felt I am damaged my only love and  how to repair the damage?  How to "reverse" what he has read from my useless and horrible behavior?  It is not fair that he had to go through all my frustration and I want to make amendments, I want to fix what I broke.  He is a very loving kid and I feel guilty for years of frustration.

    Read more: Tired of Yelling at Your Child? 6 Tips to Stop Screaming and Start Parenting Effectively

    • Darlene EP


      Give yourself some credit for

      acknowledging that screaming is an ineffective way to handle your frustration

      and the fact that you are looking for ways to change and be more effective.

      Start today at working on changing how you respond when you are frustrated.

       Try walking away when your son is triggering you and doing something that

      is calming for you, like taking some deep breaths or taking a walk. Turn this

      into a positive situation and learning experience by showing your son that

      coping skills can be developed and people can change for the better. We wish

      you well as you work through this. Let us know if we can be of any further

      help. Take care.

  • candy1981
    I have 5 kids a 2year old 6,7,8 and 15 and I feel like I'm always screaming at one of them and I hate my self for it. My kids are my world and I want to stop at yelling please help, I'll try anything.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport


      I hear you. It can be distressing when your frustration gets

      the better of you and you end up yelling at your kids. Yelling is a common way

      parents respond to acting out behavior. Unfortunately, it’s not the most

      effective way of dealing with it. Janet gives some great tips for ways you can

      parent more effectively in the above article. Another article that talks about

      how to avoid yelling in response to your children’s behavior is 5 Ways to Stop a Screaming Match with Your Child or Teen. Try not to be

      too hard on yourself. We’ve all had times when we haven’t responded in the most

      effective way. Good luck to you and your family moving forward. Be sure to

      check back if you have any further questions. Take care.

  • aymee
    When my son barely turned four my Mother in law past away unexpectedly and since our finances and assets were tied to her we found ourselves in somewhat of a financial ruin. My son,since he was born was very attached to his grandma because she too lived with us. SinceMore the passing of his grandma nothing settles, we are talking about 20 little things happening all at once. The strangest incidents will occur and on top of that there was a new addition to the family a now 9 month old little brother. I can certainly understand the trauma my poor little soldier had to endure. But with 2 business, raising two boys, trying to keep our heads above water and these bad luck encounters on a weekly basis is wearing us all down. I find myself asking him to do things more then once and he is always crying for everything and anything. I have lost my patience with him. Before this, my son may have been around his father and I arguing from time to time but we never yelled at him. He never gave us any reason to. Im so overwhelmed that im now screaming at him. It seems as if he cries to get his way or cries when he doesn't get what he wants but in a gentle way. However I get worried that as he gets older that he will pick up that nasty habit. His father is very spoiled and would throws tantrums daily if things don't go exactly the way he wants it to. I also noticed that his mom was such a sweet hart she never yells even up to the day she died. And I see how my husband is he tries to get his way with me and for a while there he would do as he pleased in spite of what I said or how I felt. But now that I have drained him out with my bickering he seems to be much more considerate. so at this point Im at a lost. I always apologize and explain why I was yelling at my son. I always feels so bad and cry because I feel as if the damage is already done my baby is in shambles now. Im going to live with the guilt until I can make up for it. This pain is one of the worst pains ever. I don't believe in physical violence or spanking heck I feel like dying when I yell at him.
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport


      Many parents describe going through a similar cycle with

      their child, where the child does not comply with directions, the parent

      becomes frustrated, yells at the child, and then feels guilty about

      yelling.  You are not alone in this experience.  The good news is

      that http://www.empoweringparents.com/Its-Never-Too-Late-7-Ways-to-Start-Parenting-More-Effectively.php to turn things around, and to learn new skills.  It’s

      understandable that you would feel frustrated and overwhelmed with everything

      that your family has been through.  If you are not already doing so, it’s

      going to be important to make sure that you are taking steps to take care of

      yourself on a regular basis.  Self-care is a vital, yet often overlooked,

      component of parenting.  If this aspect is ignored, it can have a definite

      impact on how effective you are able to be when setting limits and holding your

      son accountable.  Debbie Pincus offers some additional strategies to try

      in her article http://www.empoweringparents.com/How-to-Get-Control-When-Your-Child-is-Making-You-Angry.php.  I

      recognize how difficult this must be for you, and I’m glad that you are here

      reaching out for support.  Please let us know if you have any additional

      questions; take care.

  • Torbellino

    Well, I am not different or more special than any other yeller.  

    I yell at my 13 year old son out of frustration.  I can give you a very, very long list of why I get frustrated and what does he do or what doe he NOT DO that frustrates me.  

    I can sit here all day long trying to explain how does it start, how long does it last, how often it happens and how horrible, sad, drained, and unhappy we both end up feeling after each "yelling session".  However, those are just circumstances, description of the "scene of crime" but none of those excuse me from my lack of control. Whether he is diagnosed or not with any disorder, whether I am or not a single mom, or whether I work hard or finish my day exhausted, I truly own my misbehavior.  

    I am 100% responsible of my lack of effectiveness in communication and the possible damage I may have caused and keep causing to my child.

    Many of us, yell at children because of a behavioral issue: they either did something "wrong" or didn't do what was expected or told to, etc.  

    The irony here is that our response is also a behavior issue: either we did something "wrong" (read YELLED) or didn't do what was expected (read KEEP CALM AND COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY).

    Like all of you, I am concerned about the yelling and the possible consequences. LIKE ALL OF YOU, I LOVE MY CHILD DEEPLY AND WE FEEL THEIR LOVE AS WELL.  Like all of us, I feel guilty, at times embarrassed and ashamed and often times I fear I have hurt my child with all the yelling. 

    So we are trying to teach what we have not learned ourselves...

    HELP, please!!!!  Teach me how to heal the wounds I may have caused.  I believe I will stop yelling, I will find the way, I will follow instructions and I will turn all this into something positive and better and effective and good.  

    I have been through and done very, very difficult things in my life and I was able to successfully transform those situations and circumstances into positive impact in my life and those around me.  This specific issue cannot wait any longer.  If I did all that in my life then it is about time that I do this too.  This is way too important in my life to not make it my #1 priority.

    But, how to repair the damage?  How to "reverse" what he has read from my useless and horrible behavior?  It is not fair that he had to go through all my frustration and I want to make amendments, I want to fix what I broke.  He is a very loving kid and I feel guilty for years of frustration.

    Thoughts?  Advice?  Help?

    • Darlene EP


      Thank you for your comment and

      question. We have heard from many parents who are concerned about how their

      ineffective parenting may have affected their child, so your not alone. Like

      Janet Lehman says in her article http://www.empoweringparents.com/feel-like-a-good-or-bad-parent-how-to-be-a-good-enough-parent.php there

      is no such thing as a perfect parent. We don’t always handle every situation

      perfectly and there are certainly times when all of us could have been more

      effective, but when it comes down to it most of us are doing the best we can

      with the tools we have. The good news is you are aware there is room for

      improvement and you know what you need to do. Move forward with that because

      you cannot change the past. Working on making changes today and modeling more

      effective ways to manage your frustration and anger is the best thing you can

      do for your son at this point. We know this weighs heavily on you but it is

      time to get rid of the guilt and move forward. Please let us know if we can

      help any further. Take care.

  • bobbie953
    My son-in-law hollers at my grandson all the time. Example: The other day my grandson was carrying crayons and color books down stairs when he tripped and fell down the stairs. He father started yelling at him that if he was not bringing that stuff up stairs he would notMore have fallen. The child started to scream and his dad just kept hollering about the color books and the crayons being brought up stairs, so i and his mother went running to see if he was ok or badly hurt. His dad just keep hollering. He had hit his head on the wall and dad is still hollering so i said to the dad to settle down and stop hollering he is hurt and he kept hollering, so at the same time my daughter and i both asked him to stop hollering that he was going down stairs with the crayons and color books not up stairs, at that point the son-in-law said something to me that was not very nice and now i am not sure if i am welcome in his home or not. MY daughter came over a couple of nights later and explained to me why he hollers (which is not an excuse to ignore an injured child) and asked me not to interfere when he is hollering at the child. This is my grandson and i do not want to interfere with normal discipline, but if the child is hurt and his father does not do anything can i go to the child's aid. I am so torn as to weather my son -in-law wants me to just stay away or what--my daughter said that she wants me -- i am the only family she has out side of her husband and children.
  • lizzy624
    hi. I need help with my 11 year old son. He has ADHD and he has behavior problems. I get so mad when he doesn't listen. He thinks he is in charge. I try to act calm but then when it keeps on going I begin to yell. Special duringMore homework. It's so bad, he doesn't want to do it. There is always yelling during homework. He is always putting it off and then when the time is up he is still giving a problem. He is so disrespectful and just don't care about anything. I really want to stop yelling and try a different approach. There are so much other behaviors he has. I have been taking him to a therapist to try to get help for him,me and his father also. We try everything with him like talking to him and behavior charts. Nothing works. There is to much yelling and we want to stop yelling all the time. Please give me a advice.
    • Marissa EP


      Homework time can be a challenge for many kids, and when a

      child has ADHD, that challenge can be even greater. It is not uncommon for

      children with ADHD to act out in some way when it’s time to do homework, as a

      way to create a diversion and shift your attention from doing the work to his

      acting out behavior.  It can be helpful to set up a structured setting and

      time, so he knows, for example, that every day from 4:00 to 5:00 is homework

      time at the dining room table. You can also tie a privilege, such as

      electronics time, to completion of this homework time. Because it may be a

      challenge for him in the beginning, to sit and do 1 hour of homework, you can

      build in small breaks: after 10 minutes of focused work, he might get a 2

      minute break to get the wiggles out or get a drink. As he has more success

      around this time frame, you may choose to increase the amount of time he has to

      focus and do work, in order to earn that mini-break. Once he has completed the

      hour of work, his daily electronics time would be earned. If, on the other

      hand, he does not complete that hour of work, he wouldn’t earn his electronics

      for that day, but could try again tomorrow. If he starts to act out during the

      homework time, it can be helpful to script a plan. You could say something

      like, “Once your homework time is done, you can use your electronics. If you

      need help, you can ask respectfully.” Then, disengage from the conversation and

      walk away. Put on headphones, leave the room, whatever you can do to not get

      pulled into a power struggle with your son. Debbie PIncus, author of https://store.empoweringparents.com/product/the-calm-parent-am-pm/, offers several ways to help end the power

      struggles over homework in her article http://www.empoweringparents.com/parent-child-power-struggles-over-homework.php. Take care, and

      let us know if you have any more questions.

  • Donovan
    Thanks for sharing this. It sounds like a very difficult situation. Your sharing this is going to help others. Know that. I hope you get help. Sometimes this stuff just does not go away on its own. Keep looking for help until you find what you need.
  • StacyP4

    I am lost my 14 daughter is struggling with depression & is seeing someone for it.  Today  she asked me if she can go to school late so she can try to get through the feeling of breaking down so I said ok.  My husband freaked out and started yellingMore at me for allowing her to go in late then he went in her room and starting yelling at her to get up & go to school.  I tried to tell him that doesn't make it any better.  Now he is mad at me for defending our daughter.  Help how do we get through this?

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      It’s not uncommon for parents to
      have http://www.empoweringparents.com/when-parents-disa... about the best way to handle a given
      situation with a child.  After all, you and your husband are different
      people, with varied experiences and perspectives.  From what you describe,
      you were trying to accommodate your daughter having a tough time this morning
      byMore allowing her extra time to get ready, and agreed to her going in late so she
      could cope with the rest of the day.  Your husband took the perspective
      that, regardless of what is going on, your daughter needs to meet her
      responsibilities and get to school on time.  Neither of these positions is
      right or wrong; they are just different.  Moving forward, it might be
      helpful to talk with your husband when things calm down, and come up with a
      plan which you can both agree to follow should a similar situation arise in the
      future.  If you are able to, you might also want to get feedback about
      effective approaches you can take from the professional treating your
      daughter’s depression as well.  I realize that this is a tough situation,
      and I appreciate your reaching out to us for support.  Please be sure to
      write back and let us know how things are going.  Take care.

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